Part of my motivation for becoming vegan was the impact that animal agriculture has on our planet. And, while just cutting out meat can greatly lessen your personal carbon footprint, it’s just the beginning. At times, the bad news about the state of the environment can seem overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. There are small but significant things we can all do to help. I’m no expert, but over the past year, I’ve made a few changes in my personal life to further lessening my impact on the planet. Not only do I feel better, it’s saved me a little moola in the long run too. If sustainability is something you’re interested in, here are five things you use every week that you can replace with a more environmentally friendly option.
Two Words: Laundry Balls
I had no idea these things existed up until pretty recently. Now that I do, I’m wondering why everyone isn’t talking about them! Conventional laundry detergents can contain harmful dyes, harsh chemicals, and additives. In addition, you’re typically paying between $5 and $10 for around 33 loads worth of soap. Laundry balls retail a bit higher, usually between $15 & $30 but they last for up to 720 loads. That’s nearly 3 years worth of laundry for a fraction of the price! Types and brands vary, but each ball contains cleaning pellets, some of them are ceramic but other materials can be used. Both the EcoEgg Laundry Egg and the Green Clean Eco-Laundry Ball have great reviews.
Protect Your Produce
Shopping in most supermarkets it can incredibly hard to avoid single-use plastic, but bringing your own produce bags will reduce that and can even help your fruits and veggies stay fresher a bit longer. There are lots of options on the market now, but I prefer a mesh, BPA free product like this one from Earthwise. They offer a set of 9 bags in 3 sizes that retails for $11.99.
Shoulder the Load
On the topic of groceries, another big one is bringing along your own reusable bags. There are SO many shapes, sizes, colors and materials available. You can even get creative and customize a set of canvas bags like these to show off your unique style. I store a few in my trunk so they’re always handy.
Stop Being So Clingy
Cling wrap is plastic and, generally speaking, the less single-use plastic we use in our everyday lives, the better. In the past, some of the other options weren’t so great but some innovative products have hit the market and it might be time to give them a second look. Etee makes an organic, reusable food wrap that’s biodegradable and non-toxic with a pack of 3 starting at $17.95 on Amazon. Other options include reusable silicone lids like these from ModFamily, which retail for $15.95.
For years (and years and years) I used a Schick Quattro razor but the price of replacement blades (literally cheaper at times to buy a whole new razor) eventually drove me to try Dollar Shave Club. It was much more cost-effective but still wasteful. I had pack after pack of replacement blades and while they were serviceable they didn’t always give the best shave and I felt guilty for making more trash every time I swapped one out. Then, a few months ago I found the perfect, environmentally friendly option – an old-fashioned safety razor!
Safety razors last for yeeeeears. The replacement blades, while admittedly scary looking at first, are cheap AND recyclable. Plus, the heavier razor has a nice heft to it, making my shave cleaner and easier once I got the hang of it. I bought a Parker 99R Long Handle Butterfly Open Double Edge Safety Razor and a pack of Shark Super Chrome blades haven’t looked back since.
I used all Amazon links for examples because it’s easily accessible, but please shop and buy these items locally if they’re available. Also, if the goal is sustainability, it doesn’t make sense to go dump all your laundry detergent down the drain so you can buy a laundry ball. Simply replace items with their more environmentally friendly cousin as they’re used up or wear out. Good Luck!